|SURFACE VALUE: Innovative Coverings for Walls + Floors
by Shelly Rosenberg
The aesthetic-minded have been embellishing the surfaces of their dwellings since the dawn of
mankind. Primitive cave drawings have evolved into notably advanced and practical layers,
functioning well beyond simple decoration. Breakthrough technology offers innumerable options
that are creating quite a buzz within the design trade. Materials once considered old-world and
customary have been redeveloped, acquiring inventive characteristics that allow entirely new
uses. An exciting example is the leather tile. Once relegated to the protected walls of a gentleman’s
library, this material has been given new life. Pompei Mosaic Tile offers gorgeous, thin squares of
genuine leather that are certified green, recyclable and stained with organic pigment.
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|Without compromising its natural and sustainable qualities, the entire collection is 100% water
and stain proof. This means we can now enjoy the luxury of leather in commercial installations
or, worry free, in our own kitchens, baths, pool houses or even yachts! Further, a patented
installation technology allows this material to be placed directly over existing floors, making
it possible to incorporate LED lighting systems for dramatic effects.
|Another advantage of this dense material is its ability to absorb sound. Have you noticed that
movie theaters and concert halls are often wrapped in textile-covered panels? This is to reduce
echo and balance tone. Acoustical integrity of surfaces can add value to home media rooms
or bedrooms, but are especially important in commercial settings like nightclubs, restaurants
and multi-level office lobbies, where bouncing sound waves can create a loud and chaotic
environment. The image below beautifully illustrates this meld of form and function.
|Our second spot lighted product also boasts
social responsibility matched with problem-
solving panache. Globus Cork is a pioneer in
the origination of colored cork material and
is the premier U.S. manufacturer of cork tiles.
Why cork? Globus explains that cork is
harvested from a specific oak (some up to
200 years old) every 9 years, so no trees are
harmed in the process. And the primary cork
used in Globus fabrication comes from waste
of the wine bottle stopper industry, so it is
already recycled material before it is
reconstituted. They boast that cork
applications can be found everywhere from
IKEA stores to the U.S. Library of Congress and
proudly utilize renewable wind energy in their
|The material’s impressive list of attributes includes low-impact sustainability, complete
recyclability, water-based adhesives, zero VOCs, anti-allergenic and insect resistant
properties. Cork, too, is highly durable, absorbs sound and even acts as a natural insulator,
helping to regulate environmental temperature. The restaurant, below, has found a
practical and attractive way to add intimacy and warmth to its sleek, modern design.
|With thirty saturated colors to choose
from, and twenty different sizes,
applications and creative pattern
options are endless. The company
offers a collection of ready-made
geometric patterns such as the
one in the kitchen,on the right.
Like DIY projects? Each piece is
pre-cut and pre-pasted to make
assembly easy- there are even video
tutorials available. For signature
installations, Globus Cork will
|Modernistas that lean toward the high tech will love our final feature. 3Form, owned by the
Hunter Douglas Group, is a leader in the manufacture of non-toxic resins and its resulting
product lines. The company culture is truly inspiring as they are committed to boldly
applying technology to design. Their creative, hands-on employees run highly efficient
operating centers, leaving a minimal environmental footprint. Everything is recyclable and
made-to-order, so there is less waste. The fascinating products are low impact, yet high-design.
|Their specific creation, coined “Ecoresin,” is an adaptive substance “wildly heralded as the
most significant new product, within A&D, in the last twenty years,” according to the company.
They also produce components in stone, metal, polyester and pressed glass. These moldable
materials have the freedom to take on any form imaginable and the durability to function
in just as many ways. Their website is an absolute candy store of ideas from modular wall art,
digital photography panels, room dividers and sliding doors to counter tops, furnishings and
light fixtures! The sky is the limit!
Modernism is all about evolution, change and improvement. Technological advances are
emerging faster than we can keep up with. It is a very exciting time for art, architecture
and design. Our trio of ground-breaking inventors make it clear…our surroundings- and
surfaces- will never be the same!